Chinese Food on Christmas
The custom apparently started in Manhattan, around the turn of the last century. Immigrant Jewish and Chinese neighbors did not share in the celebration of Christmas with other New Yorkers. So it seems that Jews were grateful to find Chinese restaurants were open on a holiday when all other restaurants were closed…
OK, fast forward to today. Jewish people eating Chinese food on Christmas has become an American tradition. It’s become part of the holiday spirit. And nobody’s kvetching.
Roast Duck Two Ways
Sichuan Dan Dan Noodles
Chinese Food at Home
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Salmon Cucumber Poke Bowl
Almond Ginger Scallion Ponzu
“Chopped raw fish, or poke, was part of my everyday life when I was growing up in La’ie, the rural town on O’ahu’s north shore. The sea was our playground,” penned Chef Sam Choy in his book Poke, Mutual Publishing, 2009.
In the old days, fresh-caught reef fish would be cut up and seasoned with salt produced by evaporation of the ocean water. Then inamona (ground roasted candlenut) and limu (seaweed) were mixed in. That’s it.
As a nod to Hawaiian poke of the past…here, buttery marcona almonds stand in for local candlenuts, and dashi seaweed broth brings the essence of the sea. Ginger, scallions, soy sauce, and yuzu juice lend background complexity and Japanese touches, while cucumber adds a cool fresh crunch. But this recipe keeps true to its old-style Hawaiian roots – simple, delicious, and uncomplicated – high quality fish with no spicy mayonnaise or syrupy sauces squirted on top.
Chef Sam Choy is a four-time nominee for the James Beard Best Pacific Regional chef award, winning in 2004. He is often credited as the “Godfather of Poke” and the Culinary Ambassador of the Big Island. Read my interview with him about poke and sustainability here.
Salmon Cucumber Poke Bowl Recipe
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Salmon Crudo, Blackberry Ponzu
You might have noticed that we are making our fair share of raw salmon dishes here. In my search for an interesting pairing with salmon, I came across quite a few sites from the Pacific Northwest where local salmon was paired with local blackberries.
Usually referring to a wine and food pairing, the saying goes “what grows together goes together.” Roughly speaking, the idea is that local wine and local foods complement each other. Seems to work very well for this land & sea pairing as well.
Ponzu sauce (ponzu shoyu) is a Japanese condiment commonly made with citrus, soy sauce, mirin, and dashi. Here, blackberries add a tart fruitiness and a striking color purple.
The sushi-quality raw salmon slices are steeped in blackberry ponzu for just 5 to 10 minutes to infuse the flavors. Crunchy cucumber, peppery radish, spicy jalapeño, and buttery-nutty pine nuts add pizzazz to this appealing crudo dish. Togarashi, a Japanese spicy seasoning made with ground nori, sea salt, various chili powders, orange peel, and sesame seeds adds complexity and the finishing touch.
Salmon Crudo, Blackberry Ponzu Recipe
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Black Cod over Fresh Fettuccine in Dashi Broth
Shiitake, Castelvetrano Olives, Fried Garlic, Chives
Here’s another excellent dish inspired by Nobu Matsuhisa, where he gives Japanese noodles in hot broth a Western twist by substituting Italian pasta.
Since there are but a few ingredients – where olives play a big role – choose super-tasty, buttery, meaty Castelvetrano olives. And the pasta has to be fresh, not dried, where the tender velvety texture is heavenly in the savory umami-rich dashi broth. Flavorful earthy shiitakes are wonderful in this dish, oyster or chanterelle mushrooms would work also, however common button mushrooms would be way too boring. Lastly, the star is black cod (aka sablefish), with its silky-rich luxurious flesh and its contrasting crispy skin.
Black Cod over Fresh Fettuccine Recipe
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Spicy Salmon with Shrimp Chips
Avocado Mash with Lemon, Sliced Jalapeños
This tasty snack was inspired by Nobu Restaurants’ “Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna” where fried sushi rice cubes are served with a little bowl of spicy tuna and light soy sauce on the side. A version of the Nobu recipe went viral a while back on TikTok with the addition of avocado and jalapeño.
The original authentic dish can be enjoyed at many of the over 50 Nobu Restaurants around the world including all three in Las Vegas – Caesars Palace, Paris Las Vegas, Las Vegas Virgin Hotel.
With the remainder of a nice piece of sockeye salmon leftover from making an Aguachile de Salmón for my guests, I decided to make a quick snack paired with store-bought shrimp chips. These puffy-crisp chips are made from a dough of tapioca flour and ground shrimp. The dough is steamed, thinly sliced, dried, then fried. The result are crunchy little crackers full of umami flavor.
Topped with a tiny scoop of spicy salmon and/or avocado plus an optional jalapeño ring, these make a zippy one-bite snack bomb that is packed full of flavors, textures, and spice! And unlike the original dish which has many steps to prepare the fried sushi rice, this appetizer is quick and easy…
Spicy Salmon with Shrimp Chips Recipe
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